Grumpy old grandparents in Houston, not easily impressed.
December 18, 2010 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Houston, Texas filter. My visiting grandfather wants pictures in which he is posing in front of marvels of engineering: complicated highway overpasses, most importantly, as well as bridges and downtown skyscrapers from afar. What are the best places in town from which to take these photos? Also, accessible tourist activities for senior who get tired quickly and don't speak English.

We already took the Houston Ship Channel boat tour, and they've been to a bunch of museums and the zoo. Suggestions that involve them riding around in a car and looking out the windows (like Christmas decorations in River Oaks, which they enjoyed) are also welcome.
posted by halogen to Travel & Transportation around Houston, TX (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ride the ferris wheel at the Aquarium. Great Downtown view from the top.
posted by Albryhno at 12:32 PM on December 18, 2010

You may want to look at some of the refineries or chemical plants on the ship channel. They really are wonderful examples of engineering.
posted by Pants! at 12:42 PM on December 18, 2010

A trip to see the Galveston Seawall might also provide a nice excuse for a relaxing day at the shore.
posted by pickypicky at 12:46 PM on December 18, 2010

Best answer: You can take a photo with downtown in the background from the Sabine St. bridge (like this).

It would be nice to have a photo of the I-10 interchange (the "spaghetti bowl" at I-10 and 610) but I'm not sure where you could stand to get a photo. If you can get to the top of one of the parking garages near there (like the one at 730 N Post Oak Rd) you might have a good shot.

What about the tram tour at NASA?
posted by Houstonian at 12:50 PM on December 18, 2010

You'll be with them, right? Because people who don't speak English taking pictures of bridges, refineries, etc + asshole cops screaming at them with guns out = not much fun.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:53 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

And if you can stand more Christmas lights, they might like Prestonwood Forest (that subdivision where every street has a theme, and every single house participates).
posted by Houstonian at 12:55 PM on December 18, 2010

Houston? Marvels of engineering? Rocket Park and the rest of the Johnson Space Center. I haven't been in years, but I remember being awed at the Saturn V that was on display when I was a kid. Apparently, they've been making changes and restoring some of the exhibit lately, so you may want to call ahead and make sure what you want to see is on display.
posted by thack3r at 12:59 PM on December 18, 2010

Best answer: The intersection of 10 and 8 is pretty insane and in the middle of construction to move the intersection because it's on top of a fault line.

Maybe the part of the highway system downtown where two highways run parllel to each other for a couple of miles? I think it's 45 and 10.

Probably not interesting to look at now, but an interesting engineering feat: 59 and Sweetwater and 59 and University both used to have the smaller roads go over the highway. They flipped them about 5 years ago when expanding 59, and the highway now goes over the smaller roads.
posted by asphericalcow at 1:14 PM on December 18, 2010

The Hartman Bridge in Baytown is pretty impressive to drive over. I don't know if there are any good places to pose near it, but I've taken pictures and video from the car while driving over it (as a passenger I mean).
posted by bwanabetty at 1:22 PM on December 18, 2010

Best answer: You could also go to the JPMorgan Chase Tower (600 Travis, in downtown Houston). It's the tallest building in Texas, at 75 stories tall. They have an observation deck on the 60th floor that is open to the public, and the view looks like this. Take one of the express elevators, which go 1,000 feet per minute (you get to the observation deck in 1 minute).

It's not very touristy, but the building is connected to our tunnel system so you could drop down to the tunnels for a coffee... and to wonder how/why Houston has tunnels when it is so close to sea level.
posted by Houstonian at 3:21 PM on December 18, 2010

The Transco-now-Williams Tower is easily the most identifiable building outside of downtown (security forced me to walk the stairs all the way up to the top once. Long story.) I don't think the top-level observation deck is open to the public anymore, which is a shame (probably not because of me. Well, not just me.) The building is easily viewable from anywhere in the Galleria area, which also puts you right next to...

The 610 west/Highway 59 interchange. You want some snarly highway overpasses? I'm not sure it gets snarlier.

You could also do a quick drive-by of Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome without ever leaving the 610 loop.
posted by Cyrano at 9:15 PM on December 18, 2010

Also, might give you some good ideas.
posted by Cyrano at 9:18 PM on December 18, 2010

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